The Instigator
WindWaker
Pro (for)
Losing
1 Points
The Contender
FourTrouble
Con (against)
Winning
10 Points

The Standards of The Pornographic Industry Are Immoral

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Post Voting Period
The voting period for this debate has ended.
after 4 votes the winner is...
FourTrouble
Voting Style: Open Point System: 7 Point
Started: 3/1/2013 Category: Society
Updated: 4 years ago Status: Post Voting Period
Viewed: 2,573 times Debate No: 30838
Debate Rounds (3)
Comments (1)
Votes (4)

 

WindWaker

Pro

In this debate I will be arguing that the porn industry has inferior standards when it comes to health, safety, morals, and ethical practice.

I will post my opening arguments below. I hope somebody will challenge my views and accept the debate.

Let me start off by saying that I'm not anti-pornography; that is to say I don't think pornography is inherently immoral and I believe it is protected by constitutional rights and freedoms. I simply believe that the way that pornography is produced and sold is not ideal, and that the consumers of pornography are commonly negatively affected by it.

Porn -- even mainstream porn -- is not a neutral depiction of human sexuality. It very commonly caters to perverse tastes and is made to be of an extreme or violent nature in order to be sensationalistic and attract viewers with material that is shocking and therefore more stimulating and therefore more profitable. I believe this is bad because it can pervert one's ideas and expectations about sex and even about the roles of people in society and in relationships.

Porn also has poor values, or a complete lack of values. What I mean by this is that its only focus is using people's bodies for immediate physiological gratification. I argue that porn is a form of communication, and therefore its contents communicate certain notions and information to the public and to individuals. Porn uses human bodies and human sexuality as a crude commodity, as if they were food or some other inanimate object used only for physical satisfaction and with no human dimension. Therefore pornography communicates the idea that people are only objects to be used for one's selfish physical satisfaction. One can easily see, I think, why this could be a problem.

The industry is a sex-based business, and businesses are profit-motivated. The health and safety of the actors in porn is always secondary, or even the last thing that the producers care about.

Internet pornography is highly accessible to people who are too young and therefore not mature enough to view and properly understand such content. There are currently age verification systems on many commercial porn sites, but this is basically pointless, as there is still so much free pornography of almost every niche that is easily accessible to minors.

Summary:

1. Porn is a form of communication, and should be responsible about what it communicates

Pornography is more than just images; it has dimensions that contain certain ideas, attitudes, and values. It has the power to convey these things, which can have negative effects.

2. Porn is for-profit, and this undermines consideration for societal morals, as well as the health and safety of the performers, and the better interests of the consumers

3. Internet pornography makes pornography easily accessible to people who can't legally view it


***

Those are my opening points. I hope someone accepts the debate and I look forward to their response.
FourTrouble

Con

Thanks for the debate WindWaker.

--

Pornography, according to dictionary.com, consists of "writings, pictures, films, etc, designed to stimulate sexual excitement." [1] The point here is that porn is created with the intention of stimulating people sexually. It helps them get off. Porn is thus responsive to the desires of its consumers.

--

Pro claims porn is bad because its depiction of human sexuality is often extreme, violent, sensationalistic, or perverse. Thing is, this is a reflection of our desires. No one is forced to watch porn, individuals CHOOSE to watch it. The pornographic industry thus makes extreme or perverse porn because there is a demand for it. There is an audience out there that craves that kind of porn. This doesn't make the pornographic industry bad. It makes them good. They are catering to and fulfilling the desires of different people. That's why you can find all sorts of porn out there, ranging from softcore to perversely violent and fetishistic porn.

Pro claims porn portrays people as sexual objects. I counter, so what? What's so bad about this? People are as much their bodies as they are their minds or souls. What if I were to concentrate on a person's sense of humor to the exclusion of their other characteristics, would this be a problem? No, it wouldn't. There is nothing wrong with portraying someone as a sexual object because we are sexual beings who function as sexual objects during sex.

Pro's argument is like if I were to say, televised sports are bad because they exclude the "human dimension" and focus purely on the physical. Of course, this is ridiculous. Just because porn (or sports) focus on the physical doesn't mean they exclude other aspects of being human.

Pro claims the pornographic industry is bad because the healthy and safety of actors is secondary to profit. Pro fails to provide any sources for this claim. But supposing Pro is correct, for the sake of argument, it still doesn't follow that the pornographic industry is immoral. Entering the porn industry is a choice that individuals make. There is not a single person working in the pornographic industry that forces actors to engage in dangerous actions. The actors and actresses in the pornographic industry are there by choice, and any risky or dangerous behavior they engage in is, likewise, by choice. Thus, the porn industry is not responsible for any harm that comes to the actors/actresses.

Pro claims porn is bad because it is widely available. This argument can be dismissed entirely. It has no impact or force whatsoever. There are many things that are widely available that are nonetheless moral. The availability of something is not a factor in evaluating it morally.

Porn, I contend, is not only moral but good. It gives us a view of the world's sexual possibilities. Porn offers not only basic sexual information but also the possibility of alternative experiences of pleasure that you never could have imagined. It thus enhances and expands the limits of our sexual life.

Furthermore, porn is a source of solitary enlightenment. The problem with the actual act of sex is that it can be dangerous. Porn offers a way for people to learn about sex, and to experience sexual pleasure, without having to engage in actual sex. The existence of perverse and violent pornography is thus a good thing as it teaches us about risky forms of sexual behavior without ever having to engage in them.

To put this another way, porn in fact offers us vicarious access to emotions and experiences that otherwise could only be experienced directly. It provides us with a sense of how it would "feel" to do something.

[1] http://dictionary.reference.com...
Debate Round No. 1
WindWaker

Pro

Thank you, FourTrouble, for accepting the debate.

Con's first argument is that the porn industry is responsive to the desires of its consumers, but he fails to show how this makes it moral. Just the fact that the porn reflects people's desires does not say anything about its morality. My main contention is that the contents of the porn (and therefore the consumer's desires) are immoral. Con's first argument does nothing to refute my claim.

"Pro claims porn portrays people as sexual objects. I counter, so what? What's so bad about this? People are as much their bodies as they are their minds or souls. What if I were to concentrate on a person's sense of humor to the exclusion of their other characteristics, would this be a problem? No, it wouldn't. There is nothing wrong with portraying someone as a sexual object because we are sexual beings who function as sexual objects during sex.

Pro's argument is like if I were to say, televised sports are bad because they exclude the "human dimension" and focus purely on the physical. Of course, this is ridiculous. Just because porn (or sports) focus on the physical doesn't mean they exclude other aspects of being human."

Perhaps I wasn't clear enough in my second argument. I should have been more specific. I agree that people are essentially sexual objects during sexual acts. That is simply one aspect of being human, and there's nothing wrong with portraying that aspect. My argument here is that a large portion of the pornography that exists is based on the sexual degradation of women and sexual stereotypes of women. The women are supposed to look and act a certain way, and it does not represent reality and it dehumanizes women. It sends the message that some women are only there to please men and that they are "just for sex."

"Pro claims the pornographic industry is bad because the healthy and safety of actors is secondary to profit. Pro fails to provide any sources for this claim. But supposing Pro is correct, for the sake of argument, it still doesn't follow that the pornographic industry is immoral. Entering the porn industry is a choice that individuals make. There is not a single person working in the pornographic industry that forces actors to engage in dangerous actions. The actors and actresses in the pornographic industry are there by choice, and any risky or dangerous behavior they engage in is, likewise, by choice. Thus, the porn industry is not responsible for any harm that comes to the actors/actresses."

It's not quite as simple as that. A lot of times actresses in certain types of porn are inexperienced, and they have bad reactions to doing violent scenes. The producers or directors then coerce them into finishing the scene, sometimes threatening not to pay them if they don't do what they agreed to, regardless of whether or not the actress feels comfortable. There is also footage of actresses saying that they are in pain, asking the male performers to stop doing something during a scene, and being ignored, as well as breaking down emotionally during a scene due to the verbal and physical degradation, and the challenging violent nature of the act they are performing. If you honestly need a source in order to believe this, I can provide it in the next round (a censored YouTube video).

I apologize because it's difficult to provide appropriate sources for my above claims, but you must agree that such is possible, and you could agree that it is even probable, considering the vast amount of violent pornography that has been made. It's a fact that some women are negatively impacted by it, and so are some consumers. I will talk more about the consumers in a minute.

The point is, if such emotional and psychological toil is possible within the environment of the pornographic industry, then the standards of the industry must be morally and/or ethically inferior.


    1. Violence is almost always immoral.
    1. A large portion of pornography depicts sex mixed with violence, and gender-based violent themes (violence against women).
    1. If porn is responsive to the desires of its consumers, and it depicts men enjoying being violent against women, then it is encouraging violence
    1. Encouraging immoral behavior is itself immoral
    1. Therefore the porn industry has immoral standards



"Porn, I contend, is not only moral but good. It gives us a view of the world's sexual possibilities."

"Sexual possibilities" -- like what? Consuming fecal matter? Mutilating animals? There are a lot of sexual possibilities in the world, and I think most people can agree that some of them are better off unknown. And it's exactly these kinds of possibilities that porn is encouraging. I have nothing against being nonconformative and sexually adventurous, but a lot of pornographic niches, like I mentioned before, push things that are inherently disturbing because they are dangerous, harmful, or otherwise immoral, for the sole purpose of pushing the limit to be more stimulating. This perverts and demoralizes human sexuality. So the point Con is trying to make here is not well-made.

Con's last three paragraphs are not unlike a lot of arguments in defense of deviant porn that I have seen. They basically defend porn as the positive expression and exploration of human sexuality. But the bulk of modern porn does NOT celebrate human sexuality. It degrades it. It trivializes and manipulates it. It takes advantage of the highly stimulating and addictive nature of sexuality and violence [1], while completely disregarding the romantic and emotional aspects of sexuality and human relationships.

Pornography can also harm the consumers. Although many proponents of pornography completely dismiss porn addiction, it is a real thing and it has a lot to do with excessively deviant pornography. The way it works is this: A user is exposed to hardcore porn. The first time he uses it, he finds it very satisfying. He keeps using it, but it gradually becomes less and less satisfying; he gets desensitized to it. So, he seeks out more extreme material. This is satisfying for a while until he becomes desensitized again. Before long, he can only get off watching rape porn. After that, it's scat porn. This goes on until he can't get off on anything except watching animals get tortured on camera, and this consumes his life and his mind. He might even act out and hurt someone in real life.

Granted, this is an extreme example, and only some people will be affected like this. But nevertheless this is one problem that extreme and perverse pornography can lead to [1].

In order to refute my claim that the standards of pornography is immoral, Con must show that it is acceptable to encourage or promote sexual violence, and the degradation of women.

[1] http://www.askmen.com...
FourTrouble

Con

Pro states: "My main contention is that the contents of the porn (and therefore the consumer's desires) are immoral." Irrelevant. This debate is about the Pornographic Industry, not the desires of its consumers.

Pro states: "My argument here is that a large portion of the pornography that exists is based on the sexual degradation of women."

The problem with this argument is that "sexual degradation" is subjective. What some people might consider sexually degrading, others might consider sexually liberating. And the bottom line is that every woman has the right to define what is degrading and liberating for herself.

Pro claims porn "dehumanizes" women and "sends the message that some women are only there to please men." This is, again, a subjective interpretation. The flawed assumption in Pro's argument is that objectifying someone is always immoral. This is obviously false. Consider magazines filled with advertisements in which women are valued only for their appearance. Or football games with cheerleaders as human decoration. Or armies that objectify people into implements of war.

Pro claims the industry is immoral because "producers or directors then coerce them into finishing the scene, sometimes threatening not to pay them if they don't do what they agreed to, regardless of whether or not the actress feels comfortable."

If an actress agrees to do something for money and then ends up not doing it, it is a breach of contract and the producers have every right to not pay the actress in question. This is not a "threat," as Pro calls it, it is the law. Imagine if you could agree to do something for money, then not do it, and still demand to be paid for not doing what you agreed to do. That would be immoral. The porn industry, on the other hand, is just following the same standards that apply in any business, including the production of Hollywood films. I mean, if Tom Cruise decided not to finish shooting a film, the producers would have every right to not pay him because he would be breaching his contract.

Pro states: "There is also footage of actresses saying that they are in pain, asking the male performers to stop doing something during a scene, and being ignored, as well as breaking down emotionally during a scene due to the verbal and physical degradation, and the challenging violent nature of the act they are performing."

Pro admits he has no sources for this. Ignoring that, consider if this were really the case, then male performers are effectively raping those actresses and if the actresses pressed charges, said male performers could go to jail. The reality of the situation is that the actresses are doing just that, ACTING, sometimes porn plays into the rape fantasy of many women. You have to keep in mind that anyone who enters the porn industry is choosing to be there of their own volition. The porn industry is also not responsible for male performers raping female performers. This is the fault of the male performers.

Pro states: "The point is, if such emotional and psychological toil is possible within the environment of the pornographic industry, then the standards of the industry must be morally and/or ethically inferior."

What Pro doesn't seem to realize is that 1) the actresses could be acting and the only way to know for sure is if the actresses press charges or not, and 2) just because a job is emotionally or psychologically taxing does not mean the industry or job is immoral. I could list a lot of jobs that take an emotional and/or psychological toil on people that are clearly not immoral. For example, being a psychologist. Or being a police officer. Or a doctor. Each of these jobs can cause emotional and psychological trauma. This doesn't mean the jobs are immoral. Finally, it must be recognized that emotional and psychological trauma is subjective and particular to specific individuals. The vast majority of porn stars are not emotionally or psychological traumatized so there is little reason to think the industry itself is immoral on this basis.

I also note that in the modern legal porn world, performers are extremely safe because they work for large production companies which operate in the open, under public scrutiny. It is very unlikely that abuses exist in an industry that is not only massive but publicly transparent and completely legal.

Pro claims that pornography "is encouraging violence" because "a large portion of pornography depicts sex mixed with violence, and gender-based violent themes (violence against women)."

The flawed assumption here is that if you are exposed to something in your entertainment, then you will do it in real life. The depiction of violence in a film is does not mean the film encourages violence or that the film in question is immoral. In fact, Hollywood action films depict far more violence than porn, and they also objectify human beings, yet they clearly don't encourage violence nor are they immoral. They are entertainment just like pornography.

Pro states: "There are a lot of sexual possibilities in the world, and I think most people can agree that some of them are better off unknown."

While some people (read: prudes) may prefer to not learn about different sexual possibilities, that doesn't mean that the people who are interested in exploring perverse sexual fantasies are immoral. Furthermore, porn provides a way for people to explore these fantasies in a safe environment. In fact, porn breaks cultural stereotypes by eliminating shame for having sexually adventurous desires and fantasies. Porn says to people, "you are not alone in your deepest darkest desires."

Pro continues: "I have nothing against being nonconformative and sexually adventurous, but a lot of pornographic niches, like I mentioned before, push things that are inherently disturbing because they are dangerous, harmful, or otherwise immoral, for the sole purpose of pushing the limit to be more stimulating."

Whether a sexual act is "disturbing" or not is subjective, and just because it may be dangerous does not mean it is immoral. Furthermore, pornography does not encourage harmful sexual acts. It depicts them because they are stimulating. This does not mean it thinks people should go out and do these harmful acts.

Pro claims porn is immoral because of the potential for porn addiction. I don't feel the need to address this really. Their is little evidence that porn causes addiction, and even if it does, that doesn't mean porn is immoral. There are people who are addicted to World of Warcraft. Does that mean it is immoral? In fact, there are people who are addicted to sex. Does that mean sex is immoral? What about alcohol or cigarettes? People get addicted to those things too but I highly doubt Pro would consider those things immoral. The potential to get addicted to something (and note that Pro acknowledges the potential here is low) is not grounds for calling that something immoral.

Pro states: "In order to refute my claim that the standards of pornography is immoral, Con must show that it is acceptable to encourage or promote sexual violence, and the degradation of women."

Actually, I only have to show that pornography does not encourage sexual violence or the degradation of women. Since Pro has no proof that the depiction of something encourages whatever it depicts, Pro's argument completely collapses.

I want to end with something I think is really a really strong argument in favor of porn:

Pornography provides a sexual outlet for those who -- for whatever reason -- have no sexual partner.

Furthermore, I would argue that many acts of sexual violence are avoided because people use porn to explore their most perverse sexual fantasies in solitude instead of going out and committing an act of sexual violence. Evidence: in Japan, where pornography depicting graphic and brutal violence is widely available, rape is much lower per capita than in the United States, where violence in porn has far more restrictions.
Debate Round No. 2
WindWaker

Pro

Since I'm sure I won't be winning this debate anyway, I concede. Honestly, your arguments have been better than mine and convinced me there's nothing really wrong with porn.

Thank you for debating with me on this.
FourTrouble

Con

Thanks for the debate. I'm glad I was able to convince you that there isn't anything wrong with porn.

Vote Con.
Debate Round No. 3
1 comment has been posted on this debate.
Posted by Kinesis 4 years ago
Kinesis
You know, it's kind of annoying to find out about debates you want to vote on by them coming up in the news feed as the voting period ending -_-
4 votes have been placed for this debate. Showing 1 through 4 records.
Vote Placed by proglib 4 years ago
proglib
WindWakerFourTroubleTied
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Reasons for voting decision: It pains me to give all of the points I can vote to Con, as I agree with the Resolution both before and after the debate. However, given what I could read in the time available, Con was clearly the better debater. When I have more time, I'll add to my RFD in the comments.
Vote Placed by Wallstreetatheist 4 years ago
Wallstreetatheist
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Reasons for voting decision: Concession. I particularly liked FourTrouble's clarity and counterexamples, especially for the objectification counterpoint.
Vote Placed by RyuuKyuzo 4 years ago
RyuuKyuzo
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Reasons for voting decision: Concession.
Vote Placed by wrichcirw 4 years ago
wrichcirw
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Reasons for voting decision: !ff